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On JAMB’s inconsequential grading policy

The popular saying goes: youths are tomorrow’s leaders. There are great expectations for the hope of a better future are on the youth. This has prompted many parents to work very hard to educate their children to make them have better lives in the future. Taking a good look at our education system, there has been so many polices, which has eroded quality in the sector.

Compared with some countries in Africa, our educational sector seems to be lagging behind in many ways. The challenges majority of students face yearly, especially when writing important examinations, such as the ones organised by West African Examination Council (WAEC), National Examination Council (NECO) and Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), is nothing to write home about.

There have been a lot of cases of fraud and examination malpractices. Miracle centres has taken over the space and many students no longer read for exams. Some students are faced with the issue of fake admission in the university; some realised earlier, while some get to know late.
There have been concerns over the quality of graduates being produced by our institutions. Many graduates finished with ‘good results’ but cannot defend their grades. Lecture rooms are not adequate to cater for students, leaving lecturers to be absent at lectures and give out handouts.
Recently, JAMB came out with a new policy which is its official grading system for 2016/2017 session based on point. JAMB has a grade point for every score for candidates, which ranges from 180 to 400 and the grading scores also range from 20 to 60 points. JAMB allocated points to O’level results according to the candidates’ grades in either of WAEC or NECO. It is 10 points. But if it is combined results, it is two points.

JAMB went ahead to allocate points to each grades, which ranges from A to C. It is six to three points for each grade. JAMB, NECO and WAEC are different bodies, but why will points be allocated to O’Level results. If JAMB has decided not to use post-United Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in giving admission to candidate, it is fine. But, many may not buy the idea of allocating points and marks to examinations it did not conduct.

Before the coming of this new policy, we all knew it is not all candidates that would be lucky to pass their ‘O’Level in a single sitting. I dare say majority of the candidates that are being offered admission use combined results.

Has JAMB looked into a situation where majority of those who sit for ‘O’Level examination perform woefully in Mathematics and English Language, and have to combine or sit for the papers they did not make? Are we saying this set of students would be given two points for combined result? This is not fair. What would be the fate of the students that fall into this category?

JAMB should have graded every candidate according to his ability, which is the normal score they deserve. This will not discourage candidates who combine of O’Level result. This grading method would frustrate the efforts of candidates seeking for admission in higher institutions. It is making the whole process to look like a lottery, rather than an examination.

If review of the policy is not done, it will continue to worsen the already bad situation in our education system. It might get to a point that our so-called future leaders would pay less attention to education.

Ultimately, this would have negative effects on the future of our dear future leaders.  This is a clarion call on JAMB to rescind the grading policy. Future of many youths is at stake.

Now that President Muhammadu Buhari has relieved Prof Dibu Ojerinde of his duty and admission lists being withdrawn, we don’t know what will become of this policy under the leadership of Prof Ishaq Oloyede, but let us hope that a holistic review would be done as quickly as possible.

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